Columbia on the Road



Jerome Charyn '59

Tomorrow's the Future Still, This Is Today

By Gerald Sherwin '55
President, Columbia College Alumni Association

Gerald Sherwin '55, Presidnt of the Columbia College Alumni Association
Gerald Sherwin '55

There is always something happening either on or just off the vibrant campus on Morningside Heights. Visitors to the school are amazed by the renovations taking place, the bustling tours, and, of course, the constant activity of the student body.

If you go into Hamilton Hall, you can see many newly renovated classrooms (nothing like the rooms we worked and studied in!) that are part of an ongoing, multi-year renovation project that is transforming the College's signature building. The Admissions Office has moved across the hall on the main floor and is now located in a state-of-the-art space where Executive Director Eric Furda and his crew can be seen intensely working on the make-up of the Class of 2006. The old admissions office is being developed into a center for the Core Curriculum, with conference rooms and resources for faculty who teach the Core classes. Work also has begun on upgrading portions of Low Library, with structural repairs to the roof among the first orders of business.

Off campus, the school and faculty housing complex at 110th Street and Broadway is proceeding nicely, with the opening of the school and the apartments scheduled for 2003 — not that far away. Further uptown near Baker Field, the new boathouse and the tennis center are close to completion. If you add all of these projects to other construction initiatives under way, you can see that Columbia is striving to be the best in terms in offering the most modern facilities to its faculty and students.

Columbia 250, headed by Roger Lehecka '67, has been unfolding with the various committees composed of alumni, faculty, students and administrators meeting regularly to put forth plans and recommendations to make Columbia's 250th anniversary the best celebration ever. It all begins at Homecoming in October 2003.

In the midst of everything taking place, let us not forget that the school is going through a transition of the presidency — the handing of the reins from George Rupp to Lee Bollinger. Since the latter part of 2001, President-select Bollinger has been involved in many meetings and discussions with the trustees, deans, faculty, alumni and students. By the time he officially takes office on July 1, he will be operating at full speed.

A key and most memorable annual event will occur on April 13 — Dean's Day — where the faculty get a chance to show why they are the best in their profession and the alumni have the opportunity to relive their youth in the classroom. For those who haven't attended recently, the stimulating lectures are very topical and diverse, with something of interest for everyone. This is a magnificent day.

Reunion 2002 (May 30–June 2) is just a couple of months away. Judging from the number of people signing up thus far, this year's reunion celebration should surpass the turnout for many previous years. All class reunion committees are pushing hard to create special programs for their their classmates. In addition to the class dinners, there will be special events hosted by numerous reunion celebrants, including Ed Weinstein '57, Saul Cohen '57, Paul Alter '62, Jerry Speyer '62, Conrad Lung '72, Jim Lukomnik '77 and Dave Perlman '87.

There will be many great events for members of all reunion classes, including Broadway shows and tours of the campus and city sites, as well as special presentations by Professor of History Ken Jackson and Ric Burns '78 on the city of New York, and David Denby '65 on understanding the Core Curriculum in today's society. In addition to the Dean's Reception on Friday night, the highly popular Alumni Dance Party will be held in the Hammerstein Ballroom for young alumni (or those who feel young). Nearly 1,000 party-goers attended last year and danced until the wee hours of the morning. It will be preceded by a new event that promises to be lively and exciting: Casino Royale.

With all that is going on, Dean Austin Quigley seems to be everywhere — at almost every event, meeting, ceremony and so forth. In fact, last semester the dean had a key role (singing and dancing) in the student-produced show How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The reviews were awesome!

You can feel the surge of energy all around Columbia. Good things are happening. If you want to become part of it, we'll find a place for you. You can always reach me at Thanks for your continued support.


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